[ mot-l ]
See synonyms for: mottlemottled on

verb (used with object),mot·tled, mot·tling.
  1. to mark or diversify with spots or blotches of a different color or shade.

  1. a diversifying spot or blotch of color.

  2. mottled coloring or pattern.

Origin of mottle

First recorded in 1670–80; probably back formation from motley

Other words from mottle

  • mot·tle·ment, noun
  • mottler, noun

Words Nearby mottle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mottle in a sentence

  • To account for that, SCAN normalizes its estimates using a virus with a well-established expected quantity—pepper mild mottle virus.

  • Blue mottle, or Belton greys, which stand work and are better than; 2.

    All About Dogs | Charles Henry Lane
  • The effect of this winding, is to give a beautiful mottle to the barrel; which will be found depicted in plate No. 3.

    Gunnery in 1858 | William Greener
  • He had a coat of velvet that through age had become marked with an opalescent mottle.

    Venice | Dorothy Menpes
  • In some old strains the "blue mottle" of the Southern Hound is still preserved.

    Sporting Dogs | Frank Townend Barton
  • Ginsburg put up his gloved hand and wiped clean a face that with passion had turned a mottle of red-and-white blotches.

    From Place to Place | Irvin S. Cobb

British Dictionary definitions for mottle


/ (ˈmɒtəl) /

  1. (tr) to colour with streaks or blotches of different shades

  1. a mottled appearance, as of the surface of marble

  2. one streak or blotch of colour in a mottled surface

Origin of mottle

C17: back formation from motley

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012